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October 3, 2011 6:37 PM

Perkins Coie, Dorsey & Whitney Advise on Rhapsody's Acquisition of Napster

Posted by Brian Baxter

A decade past its prime, Napster, the company whose name is synonymous with online music sharing, is set to be sold for an undisclosed sum by parent Best Buy to on-demand music site Rhapsody.

Rhapsody, a subscription-based service whose own roots date back to Napster's heyday, expects to close on the acquisition by November 30, according to reports in the technology press.

Perkins Coie corporate partner Brian Eiting in Seattle is advising Rhapsody on the deal, which comes three years after Best Buy, the country's largest consumer electronic retailer, bought Napster for $121 million. Rhapsody's general counsel is Cecily Mak.

While terms of the Napster deal were not disclosed, the sale apparently is a sign that Best Buy's purchase of the music file-sharing service, whose profile has slipped noticeably in recent years, did not pan out, according to CNET. The New York Times reports that the deal could mean the end of the storied Napster name.

Dorsey & Whitney corporate partner John Marsalek is representing Richfield, Minn.-based Best Buy on the Napster sale, along with associate general counsel Todd Hartman and corporate counsel Eric Halverson. Keith Nelsen serves as general counsel for the electronics retail giant.

Three years ago, Best Buy turned to a team of lawyers led by business group chair John Houston of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi for outside counsel on its acquisition of Napster from digital media company Roxio, according to our previous reports. (O'Melveny & Myers advised Roxio, which had bought Napster out of bankruptcy court for $5.3 million in 2002, after a judge blocked a proposed sale to German media giant Bertelsmann.)

Houston and several former Robins Kaplan colleagues left the firm earlier this year for Minneapolis rival Fredrikson & Byron.

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